To say the universe is big would be a gross understatement, so the idea of creating an app that lets people explore outer space must be hugely intimidating. Solar System simulator Cosmographia tackles the subject on a limited scale, by focusing on just the stuff in our galaxy. It has 3D models and star maps, great visual effects, and everything is built from real scientific data.
Cosmographia is akin to a beginner’s guide to the Solar System, and insofar as that it’s an impressive app — well presented and pretty to look at, with no assumptions of prior knowledge. But it doesn’t go deep enough, and you’re likely to leave wanting more.
Games don’t often show players the future implications of their decisions or the systems behind their interactions, but for Eden Industries’ Waveform this is a core feature. It tasks you with guiding a wave of light safely through levels, layering ever greater complexity on a simple idea.
Colorful visuals, great music, and slick presentation combine to make Waveform a compelling, atmospheric experience well worth your attention, although the game falters and frustrates at times. (more…)
The old days of Mac OS 8 and 9 are now far behind us, but there are certain features I — and many of my fellow veteran Mac users — still miss. Besides the fabled WindowShade, and Finder windows that behaved predictably, I long for the flexibility and power of the Control Strip, Launcher, and Application Menu. These have all been replicated in OS X to some degree, but sometimes the Dock and the new Apple Menu just don’t cut it.
Speedy resembles the old Control Strip, with a narrow bar of icons that each contain a separate menu, but it functions more like a Launcher and Application Menu combined. It offers a list of all running apps and open windows, quick access to your favorite files, folders, or recent/favorite web pages, clipboard snippets, workflows handling, and more. I’ve fallen in love with it. Allow me to explain why. (more…)
Always forgetting little things and minor tasks? Do you walk away from your computer, then come back and wonder what you were about to do? The old-school solution is to write a note on a sticky and attach it to your keyboard or monitor. It turns out there’s an app for that.
Sticky Notifications lets you quickly create reminders that sit on your screen until you dismiss them. It does one thing, and it does it well — with several advanced features for power users and an easy-as interface for everyone else. But is it worth the $3 price tag? Let’s take a look.
Sports games have always been rare on the Mac, owing largely to the economics of development — such games are expensive to make, so you need a big audience to justify it, and the Mac install base has never reached the critical mass for sports titles. Golf games are something of an exception, however, with several Tiger Woods, Links, and Jack Nicklaus releases for the Mac on the commercial end, coupled with a dozen or so shareware titles in the past 15 years.
Nova Golf fits more in the spirit of the low-budget shareware games of old, and it comes at a time when the only other real options for a golf simulation on a Mac are the latest Tiger Woods Cider port, World Challenge Golf 2011, or GL Golf — Nova Golf’s award-winning predecessor. It’s a solid game, but it’s also disappointing in its current state. (more…)
Ever wanted to search through a user’s old tweets? Or maybe you’ve thought about archiving your timeline (for posterity, vanity, or perhaps future analysis). Problem is, there’s no easy way to do it. Twitter provides no such tools to its users (not directly, anyway). Thankfully, there are plenty of third-party services and apps for archiving and searching both your tweets and other public timelines.
Tweet Cabinet is the first app of its kind that I’ve seen for Mac. It keeps a local archive of as many users’ public timeline as you desire, allows advanced searching within this archive, and does not require authentication — you don’t even need a Twitter account to use it. But it feels underdone, with a poor user interface and limited non-search filtering options. Let’s take a look at whether there’s enough here to make the app worth your while.
The official Google Drive Mac app made a somewhat underwhelming debut. While it features full Finder integration and syncing options that matched those of the Mac Dropbox client, it fails to leverage the power of Google Drive on the web — which includes a full office suite and a plethora of sharing and file management options. And neither the Mac app nor web app are particularly user-friendly.
I’ve wondered why it has to be so hard. Apparently the developers of Archy felt the same way, so they created an app to make Google Drive and Docs easy. The app’s still in beta, but I can already say confidently that they succeeded.
I love arcade-style games. They offer such simple pleasure, with quick thrills, a mantra of easy to learn but hard to master, and you can drop in and out of them at any time. The Mac has seen its share of great arcade space shooters over the years, thanks to shareware classics from the likes of Ambrosia Software (Maelstrom, SketchFighter, Mars Rising) and Pangea Software (Pangea Arcade), among others.
While Sad Cat Software’s Violet Storm is a decent and mostly-fun game, it doesn’t hold a candle to these or other popular recent games owing to the legacy of 1979 arcade hit Asteroids (such as Geometry Wars, to which Violet Storm is highly indebted). But at $1.99, it might just be worth a look anyway. Allow me to explain why.
Finding images on the Internet tends to be difficult and time-consuming. You have to switch from one search engine to another, clicking through to a separate page for advanced settings if you need specific types of images. Then, looking at a larger version takes you to another page, from which you can check out the full-size image or the website it was found on (with yet another click and page load). I hate it.
Skyscraper (formerly Pandora; renamed to avoid confusion with the popular music service) tries to solve that problem, giving you an app to search for images online from the comfort of your Mac. It has a raft of handy features that stand it as a major player in the image-search apps arena, and does a decent job of fulfilling its tagline: “Find and download images of anything.” (more…)